Doctrinal differences abound in Christianity. This is attested to by the numerous times the Church has suffered splits and given birth to different denominations, branches, and sub-branches. The question Can somebody summarize the different “branches” of Christianity to me, and explain why they exist in the first place? gets this point across tremendously well.
But this inevitably leads us to ask the question: Why did God allow something like this to happen in the first place? If we look at the root causes of the many divisions in the history of the Church, one main reason that immediately stands out is the many different ways in which the Scriptures have been interpreted throughout history. And this is nothing to be surprised about when you have Scriptures that are inherently ambiguous, lending themselves to different, and sometimes mutually exclusive, interpretations.
And just to make matters even more complicated, even before we get to interpret anything, the question about what is considered part of the canon of Scripture and what isn't is also controversial in and of itself (for evidence of this, simply take a look at the many questions that have already been asked on the topic of the canon of scripture).
If God was behind the scenes inspiring and guiding the compilation of the Bible, then it follows that the existence of ambiguity in Scripture (what should be included in the canon, how Scripture should be interpreted, etc.) couldn't have been a coincidence. It had to be intentional. God, for some unknown reason, deliberately and intentionally allowed ambiguity to exist in Scripture.
(*) Note: I don't intend this question to be opinion-based, so I would rather encourage answers that draw on reputable sources, e.g., the works of reputable Christian philosophers or theologians that have discussed this question before, etc. Alternatively, if a denomination has an official denominational answer to the question, it would be great to know about that too.
- How do proponents of Sola Scriptura choose the “correct” interpretation of a key Bible verse?
- How do adherents to the maxim "clearer passages interpret less clear ones" handle cases where two sets of "clear" passages contradict each other?
- Are there any denominations that give official advice on how to handle the uncertainty in their doctrines?